Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama rejects Webster's definition of tax: Is he a liar OR is it time to write his own dictionary?

From the editorialists of the WSJ about a month ago, discussing President Obama's appearance on five Sunday talk shows

The President revealed a great deal about his philosophy of government and how he defines a tax increase. It turns out the President thinks a health-care tax is not a tax if he thinks the tax is for your own good.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Obama was asked by host George Stephanopoulos about the "individual mandate." Under Max Baucus's Senate bill that Mr. Obama supports, everyone would be required to buy health insurance or else pay a penalty as high as $3,800 a year. Mr. Stephanopoulos posed the obvious question about this kind of coercion when "the government is forcing people to spend money, fining you if you don't [buy insurance]. . . . How is that not a tax?"...

Mr. Obama: "No. That's not true, George. The—for us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase."

Mr. Stephanopoulos tried again: "But it may be fair, it may be good public policy—"

Mr. Obama: "No, but—but, George, you—you can't just make up that language and decide that that's called a tax increase."

"I don't think I'm making it up," Mr. Stephanopoulos said. He then had the temerity to challenge the Philologist in Chief, with an assist from Merriam-Webster. He cited that dictionary's definition of "tax"—"a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

Mr. Obama: "George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now...."

If you can follow this reasoning, then you probably also think that a new entitlement is the best way to reduce entitlement spending....And for that matter, what doesn't count as a nontax under Mr. Obama's definition? All taxes can be justified in the name of providing some type of service...


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